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The catastrophic effects of a very warm winter.

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posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:19 PM
It is hard to be mad at this weather. I certainly have been enjoying it. And like a lot of the population and posters on ATS, it is concerning as well.

But the ecology of North America is based on winter. And something so out of the norm, pleasant or not, is wreaking environmental havoc. We may not have felt the effects of winter this year, but we sure won't forget that it didn't happen.

This is affecting everything from pollination, to agriculture, to insects, to animals.
Pollen is going to be so high this year that people who have never suffered allergies before, will now.

I got the idea from the Diane Rehm show last week. I really suggest you give it a listen.

Diane Rehm show, effects of a mild winter

If you are an allergy sufferer, there is a lot of good information about that on the show as well.

As spring starts earlier, the date of the last hard frost is not changing," Inouye said, so there is a longer period between the time the first blossoms appear on fruit trees and wildflower plants and the frost-free date, increasing the chance that buds and flowers could be killed by frost.


Professor David Inouye was a panel member on the show and pointed out this happened to in 2007, affected 18 states, and it resulted in 2.2 billion dollars in damages to agriculture.

Also from the link:

In the past, the tree-bark eating beetles were killed off during cold winters, said Inouye, who does field research in Colorado. Without temperatures of minus 30 degrees F (minus 34.4 degrees C) or lower, bark beetles thrive, producing two insect generations a year instead of just one, Inouye said. That means there could be up to 60 times as many insects attacking trees in any given year, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found.

I have found conflicting information on ticks.
What they all say is that there is going to be a lyme disease surge,maybe the highest on record.
Some experts say that there are more factors to population outside of temperature, so there shouldn't be a boom.
The populaton of ticks isn't expected to increase, but because people have moved outdoors so early this year, the lyme disease season has been greatly increased, leading to more exposure to lyme disease.But others say that the deer population is going to boom (its a huge problem here already) that this will result in more deer ticks.

On top of a booming/non booming but rampant Lyme disease predictions, mosquitoes are going to make life miserable this summer, also increasing the risk for west nile virus, malaria and whatever else the creeps transmit.

But it is not limited to those and any number of diseases, that would normally be put in check, will be more severe this year. Along with Lymes Disease, there is another reason to keep an eye on your canines:

The deadly disease called Parvo hasn't died off this winter. "With our current mild warm temperatures it's actually flourishing in this environment," Breyer said.

a deadly virus in dog thrives in mild winter

Other forms of agriculture effected:

Maple syrup producers say they are already weeks ahead of schedule, and if it doesn't get cold again soon there will be a very short season. Maple trees are among the first trees to bloom, and once that happens the syrup harvested is of a much lower quality


Unseasonable warmth can put plants and migrating pollinators out of sync, Inouye has found. In Colorado, he said, broad-tailed hummingbirds normally spend winters in Mexico and return to the United States for the summer, in time to feed on nectar in certain plants. Recently, though, the plants are flowering before some of the birds arrive, meaning less nectar for the hummers and less pollination for the wildflowers, which then produce fewer seeds.

Early blooming and early pollination is going to cause a lot of problems.
From the same source:

"When plants get in this off-kilter blooming, sometimes it doesn't coincide with the life cycle of the pollinator," said Holly H. Shimizu, the executive director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington told the New York Times. "If pollination doesn't occur, then we don't get the fruit production."

This effects both plants and pollinators and any species that depend on the nectar to survive.

While some insects are booming, the bees suffered.

Beekeepers are used to the typical threats like parasites, fungal infections and environmental concerns such as habitat loss and air pollution. But this year, the unseasonably warm winter may pose the biggest threat to New Jersey's honeybees. Usually semi-dormant in the winter, bees have been active and eating through their reserve honey stores, which are suppose to last until spring. Beekeeper Joseph Lelinho of Hilltop Honey in North Caldwell is predicting a rise in the cost of honey from the loss of area hives.

Now professional beekeepers do feed their bees. Though the article doesn't specify the difference between farmed or wild honeybees, I would assume that the wild bees would suffer the most.
If there are any beekeepers, please feel free to chime in.

According to Curtis, warm winters such as this year’s can also cause population bursts in non-hibernating animal populations, because these animals experience less winter related fatalities in winters with warm weather. The growing deer population is an example of such a population boom. Population booms cause animals like deer to deplete their food supply earlier in the year than they normally would. This forces many of the animals to search for different food options, which has a ripple effect on the ecosystem.

cornell daily sun

A perfect example how all things are not equal in nature, warmer weather means a lot more plant diseases, and fungus. The deer population may go up, but it is more bad news for bats.

Still another climate-related factor will cause mosquito swarms to inflate: a serious dip in bats. Mosquito-munching bats have been dying off, due to a fungus that has decimated the population. “We may have lost five and a half to six and a half million bats in eastern North America in the last five years,” Curtis said. The fungus may be causing them to wake early, itching and hungry. And when they emerge unexpectedly in January or February looking to feed, they starve to death Read more:

The Jumanji Effect
I think the gist of all these problems is that since you don't have animals and insects hibernating, there is a huge drain on food sources.

Other then temperature, what are your observations of your area?

If you are in touch with nature, and notice some interesting things, the Phenology Network takes volunteer info.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:25 PM
I don't know how many of you live in Vancouver, but I swear it's been relatively normal all year.
it rained. typical.

not to discredit your thread at all, but speaking for my region, it's been average and everything has happened as we know it should.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:28 PM
The bugs are out full force here. Ticks are showing up earlier than Im use to seeing. Im having to garden early this year because the hot temps are gonna stress out my summer veggies and kill them. Im just wondering if the winter crops will thrive without the normal cold cycle?

Less reliable winter snow cover may hurt over-wintering of some perennial crops and flowers. Hotter summers may cause heat stress even in warm-season crops such as tomatoes

Many crops show positive responses to elevated carbon dioxide and lower levels of warming, but higher levels of warming often negatively affect growth and yields. Extreme events such as heavy downpours and droughts are likely to reduce crop yields because excesses or deficits of water have negative impacts on plant growth. Forage quality in pastures and rangelands generally declines with increasing carbon dioxide concentration because of the effects on plant nitrogen and protein content, reducing the land’s ability to supply adequate livestock feed. Increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:42 PM
I'm going to try and be short winded.
my landlord forgot a tomato plant out last year. She hasvalready picked tomatoes off to eat this year.
we found about 100 green onions growing wild and ready yesterday.
mom's boison? Blackberry? Tree. They are ripe.
OMG!!! MY POOR JOJO!! MY KIDDOS CANT GO OUTSIDE. IM "attached" to four houses through backyards, tons of cats and dogs. Ticks are outrageous!!!

San Antonio, Texas

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:16 AM

Originally posted by nixie_nox
Other then temperature, what are your observations of your area?

I live in Pennsylvania, and I remember last year we had a heavy snow while there were still leaves on the trees. It caused alot of damage with the branches breaking off and trees falling over. Other than that, the winter was very mild compared to other years.
edit on 24-3-2012 by trollz because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:18 AM

Originally posted by yourmaker
I don't know how many of you live in Vancouver, but I swear it's been relatively normal all year.
it rained. typical.

not to discredit your thread at all, but speaking for my region, it's been average and everything has happened as we know it should.

Massachusetts here. I've been saying to myself all winter, "Oh, we're gonna pay for this somehow." It's been way too warm with very little snow.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:23 AM
In Maryland the ground has not frozen where I live, and already, all the bugs from last year that went underground when it got cold, are all up and about already (and were two weeks ago). Crickets are chirping outside now in the droves, which Ive never heard this early. Mosquitos are out months early as well.

I do not expect a frost this year either; so all those insects are going to stay. The summer is going to be hellacious.

With no ground freeze over in winter, and no frost late winter / early spring, Im staying inside this summer.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:26 AM
reply to post by yourmaker

I live across the water from you and beg to differ. We had no real snowfall save for one dump of 4cm, no prolonged 0 and sub 0 snaps, we harvest maple sap and had trouble filling our jugs, daffodils bloomed early, very few typical winter storm systems (due to reversed arctic oscillation?)...this is off the top of my head. It has been a mild winter here with odd weather. It seems to be a trend around the globe.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:53 AM
Land of underground cities and ground zero now, thanks to Obama showing everyone where it's at under DIA.
Wasps reared their heads today,I shouln't have procrastinated on traps and nest bashing. Home security was raised to Raidcon2, and read those cans carefully kids, and don't point them at each other, and even more important don't point them at me. Leaving now to scout out the enemy. Take care! Xenongod
edit on 24-3-2012 by xenongod because: human spellcheck

edit on 24-3-2012 by xenongod because: zombies are coming

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:00 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

I actually fired the air conditioner on for a couple days. I'm in Southern Ontario. I think I remember a similar pattern from the mid 80's...

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:16 AM
these effects may be catastrophic for people, but nature tends to take these sort of situations in her stride, the abundence of pollen may be bad for hay fever sufferers, but the enviroment will love all the new green tender shoots, the insects feed off the shoots, the small animals and birds in turn feed the next up the food chain etc.......
then after all our furry critters are fat and content, they will probably be met with the winter from hell in the next year.

We may not always understand our weather patterns, but animals read it far better and usually adapt.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 01:25 AM
Thank you OP for mentioning what Ive been thinking the last couple of weeks. As for the naysayers, I think its just one more example of how short sighted we all are.

Here in Canada everyone I talk to is happy about the warm weather, but we tend to forget where our clean water comes from (the snow). Not to mention the farmers, last year it was floods, now this?

I think we are going to have to pay for this weather somehow, wether its droughts, or insects, or whatever.
Pray for moisture, or were all going to be a little bit poorer when it comes to buying our food this harvest.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:36 AM
The New York Catskills signing in. Ticks are out of control here in my area. The worst I have ever seen it here - they are everywhere. Our spring flowers and trees are 1 month early. Parts of my yard already need to be mowed

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:37 AM
I think that drought and food shortages will ensue.
Civil disobedience, chaos and Martial Law will be close behind. This is why Berry signed this new revision to this law.

National Defense Executive Reserve.
edit on 24-3-2012 by Violater1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by osirys

There are some water level concerns in some areas because water supplies weren't restocked because of snow melt.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by munkey66

I understand what you are saying, but as I pointed out, it is not quantity that is a problem, it is timing. And the warm weather changed the patterns for everything so they are not lining up.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 11:58 AM
Here in Northeast Ohio it's been beautiful with temps in the upper 70's low 80's. It looks like the the temps are dropping off a bit but unfortunately the hornets are out in force and in EVERYTHING! I woke up to a handful in my bedroom. So I've closed off my bedroom to hopefully keep them out of the children's rooms and the rest of the house and going for spray and the nest that is probably in my attic and a descent size by the many had swarming around outside the house in the past week. I'm guessing but with the drop in temps and chill in the air having all the windows in the bedroom and master bath open might be why they were calm and let me go about my business before I realized they were in there this morning. I walked past them and around them before I was fully awake and not one bothered me. A total 180 from their aggressive behavior this past week.

A lot of our flowers/foliage bloomed early and my raspberry bush looks fantastic.Unfortunately were gonna have to keep an eye on the weather for frosts I'd like not to lose anything but realistically this is Ohio, frosts are coming if not at least one more dump of snow.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:03 PM
reply to post by CaticusMaximus

I have been trying to find information on the stink bug invasion. (now they are showing up in Europe, Sorry!!) and there is nothing.
Some say they may not be that bad because the mild winter didn't force them indoors.

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:32 PM
Attack of the Insects

Nightline had this on last night...they are talking about how bad the insects are going to be this year....

posted on Mar, 24 2012 @ 12:48 PM
I live in NC, and so far this year we've already been plagued with mice and insects; insects that normally go dormant in the winter, have instead been breeding all season apparently. My father-in-law caught 3 mice in a single trap the other day
and we've also seen swarms of mosquitoes, and the ants have been ruthless thus far.

This is going to be a rough year as far as pests and temperatures are concerned. Advise? Buy stock in sunblock and bug repellent.

edit on 24-3-2012 by FugitiveSoul because: (no reason given)

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